Hole Saw Guide

Hole Saws are attachments ideal for hand and pillar drills with a variety of different diameters to cater for different hole sizes. Hole Saw Cutters can be used on multiple material types from metal to plastics to wood. This guide will explore what Hole Saws are and how they should be used to achieve the best of their potential.

RUKO Hole Saws

What does a Hole Saw do?

The basic purpose of a Hole Saw is to drill a perfect circular shaped hole within a material. They allow a much wider and bigger hole to be cut as opposed to other drill bits such as Jobber Twist Drills, Core Drills and Step Drills. This is achieved because the metal cylinder cutter is a blade attachment to a drill bit (typically an Arbor Drill Piece) which widens the scope of the drilling diameter.

RUKO Hole Saw PieceARBOR Piece



Hole Saw Material Capability

Common materials that Hole Saw Cutters are suitable for include non-ferrous and light metals, plastics, unalloyed steel, plasterboard and wood, light building boards, fibreboard and plywood. Hole Saw Tools are typically cylindrical metal saw blades used to drill/cut holes, hence giving them the name of Hole Saws. Usually, Hole Saws are constructed from Steel. All Bi-metal Hole Saws sold on Quality Tools UK Website are constructed by High Speed Steel, providing maximum strength against any surface.

RUKO Shop UK Ejector SpringsRUKO Shop UK Substitute Drill Bits

Typical Hole Saw Cutter Applicational Uses

Hole Saws are most commonly used within metal cutting, as well as some wood cutting projects. They are favoured by plumbers (and other roles within the plumbing industry), electricians and other construction working job roles. They are however, sometimes used within general DIY, home improvements and small-scale building/maintenance projects. These tools are most ideal for sanitary and electrical installation work. This could include cable routings and wiring runs. To allow a tunnelling of wire connections. For plumbing purposes, due to the circular shape creation, drainage piping and tap fittings to sinks are best done with Hole Saws.

Hole Saw Drilling



Different Types of Hole Saw Tools Available

  • HSS-G (Ground) Hole Saws - This is the standard Hole Saw Tool, comprising of a HSS-G Steel material capable of everyday lightweight DIY and home improvement tasks. This tool is not considered ideal for heavy-duty construction building projects of industrial strength. However, it is still a strong robust tool ideal for hole cutting. It has typical usage of drilling flat materials, tubes and vaulted surfaces. Capable of steel (up to 800 N/mm²) and cast steel, non-ferrous and light metals up to 2.5 mm, as well as plastics, reinforced fabrics, plasterboard and lightweight boards up to max. 5.0 mm.
  • Bi-metal Hole Saws - The most common Hole Saw Tool, this is typically constructed from stainless-steel material and can tackle most materials and most projects. Due to their robust structure, these hole saws can handle the most heavy duty tasks and projects. Suitable for unalloyed steel (up to 700 N/mm² strength), non-ferrous and light metals, plastics, tiling, plasterboard and light building boards, fibreboard, plywood and wood.
  • Tungsten Carbide Hole Saws - Ideal for Metal Cutting, these Hole Saw tools are strong and powerful, delivering a fast and aggressive hole cutting process. Shallow Cut TC Hole Saws are equipped for steel thickness up to 2.0mm and plastics up to 4.0mm, whilst Multigrade TC Hole Saws can handle up to 20.0mm of steel and 28.0mm plastic thickness.
  • Carbon Steel Hole Saws - Suitable for electrical and plumbing based applications, these hole saw cutters are ideal for handling lighter materials such as plasterboards. This is due to their less durable material in comparison to Bi-metal Hole Saws for example, thus making them more for home diy improvements and light duty activities. However, due to their durability, they can offer the perfect tool for the weaker more fragile materials which require a hole cut.
  • Welded Shank Soffit Cutter - These Hole Saw Cutter Tools are pre-fitted with an Arbor Drill piece, hence giving it the name of "Welded Shank". The second part of their name "Soffit Cutter" owes to the fact that they are most suited for hole cutting within Soffit boards. Other materials include Plywood, PVC and most metals.
  • Diamond-Edged Hole Saw - DE Hole Saws do not have teething. These are purpose tools for dealing with ceramic based materials, commonly utilised for hole cutting ceramic tiles. The diamond material makes it hard with strong durability, tough wear resistance and high heat resistance.
  • Multi-Hole Saw - These contain a jaw of teething, containing inner sharp edges within the hollowed-out diameter of the round cutting tool. This created a hole cutter with layers of cutting sharp (teeth) edges. Compatible with most power drills, these are capable of handling most materials with powerful ferocious effect. Their high strength and sharpness allow for material hole cutting depths of up to 45mm.


Varied Toothing vs Fine Toothing

Most Hole Saw tools have toothing, with the exception of a few (such as Diamond-Edged Hole Cutters). The rim edge of a Hole Saw provides the hole cut within a material substance. Hole Saws containing toothing commonly have one of two types of teeth. One type is varied which ensures that the cut is more even and requires less effort. It is equipped to deal with multiple different types of materials. The other popular type is fine which is particularly suitable for cutting metals. It ensures smoother running and reduces the necessary effort. Both toothing types allow for a smooth-running operation without the Hole Saw getting caught on the material.

Varied Toothing  Fine Toothing
Hole Saw Varied Toothing
Hole Saw Fine Toothing

Bi-metal hole saws have a larger number of cutting edges than carbide hole saws, which allow a clean smooth cut.


What makes a Hole Saw different to a Core Drill?

Core Drill Bits (also known as Annular Cutters or Broach Cutters) share a lot of similarities with Hole Saws, as they only cut the outer edge of a hole. They cut a groove around the outside of the hole, leaving a solid core or slug in the middle of it. A burr-free, close tolerance hole can be drilled without any pre-drilling or step drilling. Core Drills are typically used with Mag Drills. They have a much sharper more powerful approach for metal drilling compared to Hole Saws which offer better performance against Wood and Plastics. Hole Saws typically have a much wider diameter for cutting compared to Core Drill Bits. Core Drills are more tailored to industrial, construction, heavy-duty tasks. Check out our previous blog on Core Drill Bits here for more details.
Hole Saw PieceCore Drill Bit



How to use a Hole Saw

Hole Saws can be used on both portable handheld manual and power drills and industrial stand drilling machines. They typically require an Arbor piece connected to the Hole Saw piece to achieve a secure drilling operation.

RUKO Arbor Drill BitRUKO Arbor Drill BitRUKO Arbor Drill Bit

Start by attaching the Arbor attachment to the back of the Hole Saw. There are pin plugs on the Arbor that slot within holes on the base of the Hole Saw. The image below demonstrates where the Arbor must slot into the Hole Saw.

Hole Saw Arbor Diagram

Tighten the Arbor onto the Hole Saw to ensure a strong grip, put the Arbor onto the drilling device and you may need to screw in a drill bit into the centre of the Arbor attachment (optional). This locks the Hole Saw onto the drilling device, allowing the drilling process to begin. Optionally, an Ejector Spring can be placed over the drill bit to ease the removal of the tool from the material.

Hole Saw with Arbor Drill Bit and Ejector Spring AttachedHole Saw Cutting Process Start

Before the drilling process can begin, ensure precautionary health and safety measures are taken, such as:

  • Safety goggles
  • Drill gloves
  • Thick and protective clothing
  • Dust mask

Next, align yourself and your tool to the exact cutting location and begin to slowly and steadily drill whilst applying gentle soft pressure. Begin to build on the pressure as the operation progresses but ensure too much hard pressure isn't applied as this could disrupt your intended result. Avoid pendulum movements when drilling.

Hole Saw Cutting Process

Remove the Hole Saw out of the cutting process and pause every now and then to allow removal of dust and excess material, as well as checking your progress. Repeat this process of drilling and pausing until your desired outcome of cutting/drilling is achieved.

Hole Saw Pause

Once finished, ensure all dust and excess material is cleared from your newly created hole. You should also clean your Hole Saw of dust and excess material from within the cylinder and ensure the drill bit and Arbor are cleansed also. Please Note that the Tools used may be hot!
Sit back and admire your finished hole cut.

Did You Know - Hole Saw Cutter Slots - RUKO Shop UK

RUKO Hole Saw Sets


Quality Tools UK offers a wide range of individual and sets of Hole Saw Cutter Tools, as well as ARBOR Drill Bits and Ejector Spring Accessories to accompany the Hole Saw. Check out our stock here or contact a member of our team with any enquiries.


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